The Power of Relationship in Hemingway's 'Cat in the Rain' and Ibsen's 'A Doll's House'
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The power of relationship is a major theme in both Hemingway's "Cat in the Rain," and in Ibsen's "A Doll's House." In both stories, patriarchy is the pervasive social structure under which the individual relationships develop. Relationship therefore defines and reinforces gender roles and norms. The heterosexual dynamic also constructs and reinforces individual identity. Romantic relationships have the power to perpetuate social norms and values, especially those related to gender. Furthermore, romantic relationships have the power to transform the individual. The individual can find liberation and release through a relationship; or the individual may choose to remain personally stagnant within it.
In both "A Doll's House" and "Cat in the Rain," the female protagonists are utterly dissatisfied within their respective relationships. Relationships restrict their creative self-expression and their ability to construct identities that are independent from their role within a marriage. In "A Doll's House," for example, Nora Helmer acts on her own volition to help her husband. Her desire to act independently is subsumed by the patriarchal norms to which her husband and her friends like Christine Linde ascribe. The relationship between Nora and Torvald could potentially result in Nora's self-implosion but instead, Nora chooses to extricate herself from the negative situation. Her leaving her husband represents the symbolic liberation of all women from the subjugation of